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Kiteboarding Control Bars
What are Kiteboard Bars?
If you're into kiteboarding, you know that a good control bar is key to having a rad time out on the water. These bars are the ultimate way to connect with your kite and rule the skies (or the water, in this case).
But with all the different kite bars and control systems, it can be tough to choose the right one. That's where we come in - we've got all the gear you need to be the king or queen of the kiteboarding scene.
First things first: what is a kite control bar? It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like - a bar that you hold onto to control your kite. Most kite bars have a horizontal bar with lines attached to either end that connect to your kite. By moving the bar and adjusting the tension in the lines, you can steer your kite and adjust its power.
Kite Bars and Lines For Maximum Performance
But a kite control bar is more than just a stick with some strings attached. These babies come with cool features, like safety release systems, trim adjustments, and power settings. This lets you fine-tune your kite's performance and ensures you always have maximum control.
Types of Kiteboarding Control Bars
Now, you might think, "But wait, aren't all kite bars the same?" Not exactly, my friend. There are a few different types of kite bars and control systems out there, and each has unique features and benefits.
Kite Control Bar Size
Kiteboarding control bars typically come in several sizes ranging from approximately 17” to 23”. Shorter bars have less leverage, so are not able to control large kites as aggressively as longer kite bars. On the flip side, longer kite bars have lots more leverage and can cause oversteering when used on small kites. Generally, smaller kites work best with smaller bars and bigger kites work best with bigger bars. But using a big bar on a small kite can give it more speed and maneuverability while making it twitchier. Using a short kite bar on a big kite can make it more stable but significantly slower and less responsive.
Kite Line Trim System Configuration
Trim adjustments are super key to ensure a safe, smooth session. A trim adjustment is when you shorten or lengthen your center lines (the ones attached to the leading edge). Sheeting in (shortening your trim line) will spill wind and make the kite sit higher in the window but provide less power. If you’re getting too much power or bar pressure, this can help. Sheeting out (lengthening your trim line) will expose more of the kite canopy to the wind, making the kite sit lower in the window and increasing bar pressure. This gives the kite a little more low end power but creates drag.
Most kite bars feature either a trim strap trim system or a click bar trim system. A trim strap system typically involves a trim strap, pulley, and cleat located with your centerlines above the center of the bar, extending a foot or two in front of the bar. You pull the strap and re-cleat it to adjust trim. The click bar system typically features a knob on one side of the bar that you twist to shorten or lengthen the backlines. Both mechanisms are safe and effective, so choose the one that feels most natural and ergonomic to you.
Line Configuration of Kitesurf Bars
Ah, the age-old question of 4-line vs. 5-line kite bars. You’ll need to make sure the number of lines on your bar matches the number of lines your kite is set up for, but if you’re considering different quiver options, let’s break it down.
A 5-line bar is like a car with an emergency break; it has a dedicated center safety line making it easier to depower your kite. It's a bit easier to handle and gets you up in the air quickly, but the extra line creates more weight and parasitic drag (fancy term for wind resistance) and is another line to tangle. Consider the 5-line to build your confidence and skill when just starting out with kiteboarding if you have a great 5-line kite. Once you've mastered the basics, consider upgrading to a 4 line bar and kite to take your kiteboarding to new heights.
Most modern kites and bars come with a 4-line configuration. A 4-line bar won’t tangle as easily, is more responsive, and in modern rigs also depowers well. The 4-line bar is compatible on pretty much any modern kite but performance relies on the canopy being tensioned properly.
4-Line Bar Y Position
While the steering lines attached to the trailing end of the kite are typically run independently, the lines attached to the leading edge are usually run in a Y configuration. They start out together near your kite bar and then split at some point halfway between you and the kite and attach to two different points on the leading edge of the kite. Different brands opt to put the Y split higher (High-Y) or lower (Low-Y) in the lines to optimize the shape of their specific design. Manufacturers design their kites for compatibility with their own control bars, so some brands may not fly as well if they’re tensioned for a high-Y and you’ve got a low-Y bar or vice versa. That’s not to say you can’t have a control bar from a different brand or Y configuration than your kite - you absolutely can, you’ll just want to be aware that they may not perform quite as well as intended. We’ve got a YouTube video that explains it really well:
INSERT VIDEO THUMBNAIL: https://youtu.be/kvV380UNEkM
We’ve also got a team of experts that can tell you which kites and lines are compatible with your existing equipment.
Take Control of Your Kiteboarding Experience
Ready to upgrade your kiteboarding with a new control bar? Look no further than Windance - shop our high-quality four-line and five-line bars today and take control of your kiteboarding experience!